In the morning, we all arose naturally and peacefully from our slumber in the Bedouin tent to the sound of at an alarm clock at 4:30 AM. We stumbled onto the bus and set off into the darkness towards the historical mount Masada. We eagerly climbed the Roman ramp up to to the peak, full of excitement as we raced against the sun. We reached the beautiful summit just in time to watch the spectacular view as the pitch black sky gave way to the colors of dawn. It was magnificent to watch, and also a great photo op. We hiked down the mountain along a windy, treacherous trail, certainly the most difficult of the entire trip. Goodbye Masada, hello Dead Sea!
Luckily, it was surprisingly warm outside, so even the cold water didn't stop most participants from going right into the Dead Sea for a swim, err, float. We all had a great time bathing in the magical Dead Sea, and even Billy (who was a bit scratched up from a slide down a Negev hill) was able tough out the pain and enjoy the experience. Sadly, we couldn't stay at the beach all day, and so before we knew it we were back on the bus leaving the Negev and heading back to Jerusalem.
Back in Jerusalem, we stopped at the Mahane Yehuda open-air market for lunch and shopping. We enjoyed the authentic atmosphere as our Israeli participants helped us order delicious lunches from restaurants that dealt only in Hebrew and as we bartered for souvenirs alongside regular Israelis. Then we headed back to our old friend, the Caesar hotel. We met with an Israeli advocate who told us about opportunities to return to Israel, before we headed off to our rooms for some much-needed rest (and social time!).